Representing Glasgow Cathcart, and then Glasgow South, at Westminster has been the greatest privilege of my political life.
It sounds like a cliché, yet it’s true that being an MP is an incredible honour, and I want to take this opportunity publicly to congratulate my successor, Stewart McDonald, and to wish him well in the job.
In the last 14 years I’ve been given opportunities that few others get, not only to meet amazing people in the constituency and beyond, but also to help them. I suspect I will never again experience anything quite as fulfilling as being able to intervene on behalf of a constituent and to succeed in changing their life for the better.
Today I am heart-broken for my party at both UK and Scottish level. I can offer no particularly valuable insights as to the way forward for either of them – I will leave that to others.
Let me just say one thing by way of an attempt at political analysis: it’s (probably correctly) assumed that Scottish Labour has paid the price for its support for the No campaign in last year’s referendum. If that is indeed the case, then I have to conclude that it was a price that had to be paid. I and many Scottish Labour colleagues lost our jobs last night, and that’s to be regretted. But if we had lost the referendum, we would have lost our country, and that would have been far, far worse.
Thank you and good bye.
8 May 2015
Labour Party members cheered the arrival of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown as he arrived at Tom Harris’s campaign HQ tonight.
Gordon gave a rousing stump speech calling for Tom’s re-election as MP for Glasgow South: “We want Tom Harris re-elected as the Member of Parliament for this constituency.
“Tom is a great guy. He takes the cause of Glasgow into Westminster. He speaks up for the needs of this area. he has never let you down. He’s been a great minister, he is a great MP and he stands ready to give more service to this constituency if you elect him.”
Gordon said that while the media had been focused on post-election deals and hung parliaments, he and Labour activists had bee talking about the real issues – poverty, unemployment, housing, the need for opportunities for young people, and a better future for the people of this country. And he drew a contrast between the priorities of Labour and those of the Nationalists: “We wake uop in the morning thinking about how we can create social justice – they wake up thinking about how they can get independence.
“We have a dream, thinking there’s something we can do about poverty – they have a dream, that they want a second referendum.
“We’ve got to get the message across, that if you want action on youth unemployment and action on jobs, if you want action on the health service, and if you want action on the poverty that exists in our country, then the only answer is a Labour government.”
Watch the whole of Gordon’s speech here.
Tom Harris has challenged the anti-democratic rule that prevents SNP candidates, MPs and MSPs speaking their mind.
A new rule change introduced earlier this month states that “No member shall, within or outwith the parliament, publicly criticise a group decision, policy or another member of the group.” Which means that any decision by Nationalist ministers at Holyrood can never be challenged or criticised by any SNP spokesman – even when that policy is detrimental to an MP’s or MSP’s constituents.
In a new leaflet being distributed by Tom’s campaign team, he warns voters: “We need an MP who will speak his own mind, regardless of what his party tells him to do.
“That’s what I’ve always done. I’m loyal to my party, but I would never put it before the interests of my constituents. The gagging clause imposed on every SNP MP and candidate is unacceptable, undemocratic and un-Scottish. Scots traditionally stand up to authority. We refuse to be pushed around. So there’s something very un-Scottish about gagging a local MP, whose job is supposed to be sticking up for the rest of us.
“Why vote for someone who can’t – or won’t – criticise any SNP policy, even when it hurts his constituents?”
Click here to see a PDF of the new leaflet.
Click here to see Tom’s latest video about the Nationalists’ intolerance of free speech.
Tom Harris, Scottish Labour’s candidate in Glasgow South, has published an up-to-date lists of the hustings meetings that have been planned so far in the campaign.
He said: “There’s a lot of interest in the 2015 general election here in Glasgow South, and that’s because the stakes are so high. Another Tory-led government would be a disaster for my constituents.
“I can’t wait to put Scottish Labour’s case directly to the audiences in the next month.”
The hustings agreed so far:
Langside Church of Scotland (organised jointly with Commonweal) 167 Ledard Road, Glasgow G42 9QU – Thursday 16 April at 7.00 pm
Cathcart Trinity Church of Scotland 90 Clarkston Road, Glasgow G44 3DA- Tuesday 21 April at 7.30 pm
Castlemilk Youth Complex 39 Ardencraig Road, Glasgow G45 0EQ – Tuesday 28 April at 7.00 pm
Mansewood Community Hall (organised by Mansewood & Hillpark Community Council), 88 Parkneuk Road, Glasgow G43 2AF – Wednesday 29 April at 7.00 pm
Destiny Church, 1120 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G41 3QP – Friday 1 May at 7.30 pm
This list will be updated if and when any further events are planned.
Former Yes voter Jack Donaghy has endorsed Tom Harris for the General Election in Glasgow South.
Jack, a student and freelance photographer, voted Yes in September’s referendum, but will now opt for Labour to bring real positive change to Scotland and the UK.
Jack said: “I supported Scottish independence and I was disappointed in the final result. But the referendum is behind us now. I have known Tom for years and I know he’s a hard-working MP who will always put the interests of his constituents first. That’s why I’ll be voting Labour on May 7.”
Tom said: “I’m really grateful for Jack’s support. He voted Yes, I voted No – we’ve agreed to disagree on that!
“But what’s important now is that Labour wins enough support in Scotland to make sure David Cameron can’t stay in Number 10.”
Tom Harris’s re-election campaign is to post all its literature online.
Every leaflet being distributed round Glasgow South will be available on this website as soon as they become available. For updates, visit the Campaign 2015 page
George Osborne: SNP “not fussed either way…”
Labour tonight rejected the government’s “failing” austerity plan, calling on ministers to adopt a “different, fairer and more balanced” approach to reducing the nation’s deficit.
But while Labour marched into the lobbies at the House of Commons to support their long-held position, Nationalist MPs abstained.
Glasgow South MP Tom Harris said: “Given how much of a song and dance the Nationalists love to make about Opposition day votes when it suits them, I’m surprised that they couldn’t bring themselves to vote with Labour against the Chancellor’s failed austerity programme.
“This illustrates the Nationalists’ blind tribalism – they would rather consign Scots to a failed Tory economic plan than be seen to support the only alternative available – Labour’s plan for growth.
“So much for the party that claims always to put Scotland first.”
The ful text of today’s Labour motion, which was defeated by a combination of Tory and LibDem MPs, reads:
That this House rejects the government’s failing austerity plan set out in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement which the Office for budget responsibility has said will take public spending back to a share of national income not seen since the late 1930s, before the National Health Service came into existence; notes that the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that this would entail cuts on a colossal scale and has raised concerns that this could involve a fundamental reimagining of the role of the state; further notes that the Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility has said that these spending figures were based on the policy assumption presented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and signed off by the Quad, which consists of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury; and calls on the government to instead adopt a different, fairer and more balanced approach, which involves sensible reductions in public spending, a reversal of this Government’s £3 billion-a-year top rate of income tax cut for people earning over £150,000 and an economic plan that delivers the sustained rises in living standards needed to boost tax revenues, in order to get the current budget into surplus and national debt as a share of GDP falling as soon as possible in the next Parliament.
The SNP are neither progressive nor left wing, Glasgow South MP Tom Harris has pointed out to his constituents.
In a reply to a constituent who claimed to have switched his support from Labour to nationalism because of the SNP’s commitment to helping “the poor, the vulnerable and ordinary working people”, Tom said that the SNP’s commitment to protecting the better off from having their tax increased – a commitment contained in the nationalists’ “White Paper” during the independence referendum campaign – was typical of a party that wants to talk left but acts right.
He told his constituent: “Throughout the last century, whenever the lives of working people have improved, whether through conditions at work, through housing or pension reforms, or in health care, reform has been driven by the Labour Party, either through government or through campaigns.
“Let’s not forget that in the history of modern democracy, the forward progress of the human condition has never been improved, or even been sustained, by the rejection of the mainstream progressive party in favour of nationalism.”
Tom has published his full response in an article on the LabourHame website.